Fussy Eaters Frustration

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ganesa_9, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. ganesa_9

    ganesa_9 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    Does anybody else have this problem?

    My chickens (Buff Orpingtons) are extremely fussy eaters, but in a strange way. They will eat anything as long as it is in their feeder in the coop. In winter I feed a mix of scratch and layer pellets, and they wolf it down, but being chickens and sloppy, probably about half of it falls out of the hanging feeder and falls onto the coop floor (vinyl). At that point it is no longer food! I thought maybe it had something to do with the flooring, but they exhibit the same behavior outside. Food that falls out of a feeder and touches the ground is no longer food.

    I suppose I wouldn't mind so much except that I'm cleaning out at least a 50 lbs bag-worth of pellets and scratch from the coop about every three weeks. Gets a mite pricey if you know what I mean! The last batch of Orps I had were not like this! So what gives? Any ideas regarding this?

    I tried not filling the feeder in an attempt to get them to eat the stuff that falls on the floor, but they literally will starve rather than eat it. And it's not getting fouled or anything. Really frustrated.
  2. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    Don't put scratch in with the laying hen pellets! It's like candy for them. They'll toss everything out to eat the scratch, and that's why you're wasting so much. In fact, it's rare when chickens need scratch corn at all. It's best if used as a way to keep them busy,(tossed in their bedding to encourage activity) or to use as a treat to teach them to come running. Good quality laying hen pellets and greens are all your girls need to stay healthy. In fact, corn will make them fat and you'll have laying problems. So, get rid of the corn. They'll have a snit at first (you're taking away their candy) but ignore that. They'll eat soon enough!
    I have older hens, and you have to be really careful about too much corn and too many treats for them. I wrote about that here:
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I would stop the scratch. As mentioned above, I think they're throwing the pellets out to get to the choice bits of scratch. Maybe try hanging the feeder higher. And honestly, they won't literally starve themselves. When I have too much feed on the ground, I just don't fill the feeder for a day and they clean it right up. It might take them a day or so to figure it out, and they'll probably be unhappy when you take the scratch out, but survival is a strong instinct and they'll get over it.
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Don't refill the feeder until they clean up what's been spilled
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  6. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    Agree with all of the above. Unless you have D'Uccles and they are very,very very messy eaters. I do as Bear Foot Farm said I don't refill until it is all cleaned up.

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